Moving to Florida – how to prepare?
Have cold snowy winters prompted you to feel like Bugs Bunny longing for Miami Beach? You are not the only one. Moving to Florida is a lifelong dream of many of us. This tax-friendly coastal paradise remains the third most populous state in the U.S. for a reason. With 600 miles of sandy beaches, lots of sunny days throughout the year and vibrant social life, the Sunshine State keeps raising immigration levels. Add relatively affordable costs of living, strong economy and great public schools to the picture. It truly resembles a paradise. With occasional hurricanes. And floods. And giant alligators sunbathing in your back yard. Okay, there’s no such thing as perfection. If you are definitely moving to Florida, you need some time to prepare. If you’re moving interstate, there’s a long journey ahead of you and a completely different scenery from the one you’re used to.
Choose your hometown
Before you hit the road, you need to decide which region of the Sunshine State is the best for you. Florida is a vast state and living conditions differ depending on the city and its location. If you are still in two minds about your future hometown, here are some of the most popular cities in Florida:
- St Petersburg
Each and every of these centers has its ups and downs. However, if we’re only looking at the bright side, Tampa boasts excellent health care and rich culinary scene. Whereas the cosmopolitan lifestyle in Miami is unprecedented, Orlando is one of the best cities to find employment. With a number of tech companies and high performing public schools, Orlando is one of the favorite destinations for families and young professionals. As for Sarasota and St Petersburg, these two cities share one of the most significant advantages – they are both affordable to live in!
Prepare for hurricane threats
Living in NYC may have taught you how to deal with snowbound streets, but real hurricane threats take some getting used to. This is especially important if you’re moving to the Southern part of Florida. You may have learned how to protect fragile items when travelling, but do you know how to protect an entire house?
Find out whether your home is in a mandatory evacuation zone and whether it’s equipped with hurricane shutters. It can also be located in a flood zone. Obviously, living in a subtropical paradise has its disadvantages. However, there’s no need to be discouraged. What you need to do is buy insurance and protect your home. If you live as a tenant in a condo or apartment, others will take care of the safety measures for you. However, if you bought a house, you are on your own.
Decide whether to rent or buy
Explore the housing market in advance and decide whether to rent or buy a property in Florida. Even though the average home value in the Sunshine State amounts to $206,476, there are substantial differences among different regions and cities. Whereas in Panhandle average home value goes beyond the national average (under $140,000), in Miami it exceeds $300,000. If this is too much to ask, renting is always an option.
Take care of important documents
Moving to Florida from another state does not only involve hiring residential movers to transfer your belongings. You need to take care of the paperwork. Becoming a resident of another state takes some bureaucracy. First of all, apply for state residency. Then take the following steps in the order you find the most appropriate:
- File a Declaration of Domicile
- Register to vote
- Register your vehicle
- Apply for Florida’s driver’s license
- Notify tax officials
- Open a local bank account
- Apply for the Florida Homestead Exemption (if you’re buying a home)
In addition, don’t forget to transfer medical records, birth certificate and social security card. Close the bank accounts and take care of bureaucracy before you hit the road.
Don’t bring all your worldly possessions with you
If your wardrobe is bursting at the seams, it’s high time to downsize. But if you’re moving to Florida, you really need to cut on your outfit options.
You are not going to face harsh weather typical of NYC winters anymore, so leave the snow boots to someone in need. As for household items, do not forget that you are heading for long distance relocation and the moving costs will be calculated according to the weight and mileage. Therefore, bringing all your worldly possessions to your new Florida home is hardly a good idea.
Find a reliable long distance mover
Speaking of the challenges of a long distance relocation, one of the first and most important steps is to find a reliable mover. If you’re moving from NYC to Florida, it’s a huge step and a long journey. A 2,050 km driving route is a long, long way. You need professional, fully licensed and insured movers to do the job for you. The packing itself is challenging, but safe transport is even more so. Luckily, there are experienced long distance movers in Brooklyn that are used to sleepless nights on the road and all kinds of conditions on the way. Explore the market and find your moving expert in advance. To put your mind at rest, book them in time.
Move off season
If you have a choice, avoid moving in the peak season. Roads are busiest in the summertime and spring and moving companies have a lot of work on their hands. Weekends and holidays are also days to avoid. Many families hit the road while their children are on a break from school. With such a busy schedule, moving companies are not going to offer discounts or any other benefits. However, if you decide to move off season, you can expect to score some sort of reduction on the price. It’s hard to plan the budget ahead when you’re moving long distance. To avoid surprises, get a free moving estimate in advance.